Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Morton, Phils out to rebound vs. Erlin, Padres

A 2-4 start with multiple bullpen collapses has many Phillies fans looking to the clouds in search of a silver lining after the first week. Look no further than the rotation, which six games in had compiled a 2.97 ERA.
One holdout from the success, though, is Tuesday's starter, Charlie Morton. The free-agent acquisition didn't make it out of the fourth inning in his Phillies debut, allowing six runs before getting the hook.
The Padres have their own issues -- namely having their Opening Day starter, Tyson Ross, on the disabled list. Taking his place in the rotation is Robbie Erlin, a 25-year-old left-hander recalled Friday, five days after he didn't make the Opening Day roster. He pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings in relief that night, which earned him the spot start in place of Ross, whom San Diego expects to return by the end of April.
Things to know about this game
• Erlin has made two career starts against Philadelphia, and he's had plenty of success. In 12 1/3 innings, he's allowed three earned runs and nine hits, while striking out 11. The Phillies' 3-4 hitters, Maikel Franco and Ryan Howard, are a combined 0-for-6 with four strikeouts against Erlin.
• If there's a team for Morton to get back on track against, it's the Padres. Among teams he's made more than one start against, Morton only has a better ERA against the Giants (2.59 in 12 starts) than San Diego (2.70 in seven).
• Padres center fielder Jon Jay has plenty of experience against Morton, with 34 career plate appearances. He's 9-for-24 (.375) with three walks -- and he's been hit by a pitch five times.
• Dating back to last season, Morton has yet to make it out of the fifth in four consecutive starts. The last quality start he recorded came Sept. 11 for the Pirates in a 6-3 win over the Brewers.

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